Sunday, July 30, 2006

Seat Being Saved for Craig Counsell -- on the Bench

Those thinking veteran Craig Counsell will be given back his starting shortstop job for his 36th birthday on Aug. 21, don't waste breath blowing out the candles. Counsell likely will have recovered from his broken rib by then, but no way he can he push rookie phenom Stephen Drew off the field. Drew, 23, remains a work in progress, but so far he has not embarrassed himself defensively and is swinging a huge bat, even flirting with a .400 average for brief periods. Expect the Diamondbacks to keep earning dividends on the $4 million signing bonus they handed Drew, and expect the former first rounder to be a fixture in the middle for years to come. Drew is the most recent of three brothers, the others being J.D. Drew and Tim Drew, to enter the baseball arena. But though he may be the youngest, he projects as the potentially the best player of the three.